Posts Tagged Book of John
The Fourth Sunday of Lent is known as “Laetare (Rejoice) Sunday,” which expresses the Church’s joy in anticipation of the Resurrection. Today’s readings remind us that it is God who gives us proper vision in body and soul, and they instruct us that we should be constantly on our guard against spiritual blindness.
Michael Yaconeli wrote a book entitled God’s Annoying Love for Imperfect People. In the book he tells the story of a man recently converted to Jesus and how an unbelieving friend sought to “see” why he converted to Jesus:
“So you have been converted to Christ?”
“Then you must know a great deal about Him. Tell me, what country was He born in?”
“I don’t know.”
“What was His age when He died?”
“I don’t know.”
“How many sermons did He preach?”
“I don’t know.”
“You certainly know very little for a man who claims to be converted to Christ.”
“You are right. I am ashamed at how little I know about Him. But this much I know: Three years ago I was a drunkard. I was in debt. My family was falling to pieces; they dreaded the sight of me. But now I have given up drink. We are out of debt. Ours is a happy home. My children eagerly await my return home each evening. All this Christ has done for me.”
Does it not sound like the answers given by the blind man healed by Jesus? (Jn 9:1-41) It’s like watching Law and Order except no one wants to see the facts of the case.
They question the blind man: “How were your eyes opened?”
He says: “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
Then they take the blind man to the Pharisees for questioning. He tells the same story: “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
But because Jesus performed this cure on the Sabbath, the Pharisees don’t want to believe this “Jesus” is from God so they ask the man born blind: “What do you have to say about Him?”
To which he responds: “He is a prophet.” So now the Jews don’t believe that the man was BORN blind so they call in his parents. They say: “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age, he can speak for himself.”
Still not satisfied, they call the blind man in again. Now he says in reference to Jesus: “If He is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” Then in utter frustration the man says: “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where He is from, yet He opened my eyes.”
Today, I think he would say something like this: “Come on guys, this is a no brainer! I was blind from birth, this guy slaps some mud on my eyes and tells me wash it off in the pool of Siloam, and now I see. Hello!! Am I the only one who can see?”
To which I respond: “YES! You are the only one who can see!”
The Gospel is really very simple and clear. Jesus is the light of the world. He anointed the guy’s eyes; tells him to wash; the guy does it and sees and believes. His story is really our story. We may not know the answers, but this we do know. We do see and we do believe in Jesus, the Light of the world. And in our faith, we worship Him. However, just because we believe in Jesus, we are not always free of blindness. We have to struggle to see sometimes.
The real beauty of the man born blind is that the more they badgered him, the less he was blind. We cannot be like the Pharisees and take up a refusal to see position. Lent is such a wonderful time for us to recover from blindness. We can easily lose our vision in our selfish choices or in our grudges, or in any number of other ways. How about if we are always hanging around people that are cussing and telling dirty jokes? All of a sudden we become blind to the sin and start doing it ourselves.
How about when we get so caught up in the TV or even a video game, that we are blind to the help that someone else in the room could use. How about when we are constantly talking to someone who loves to talk about others and we become blind to this sin and start talking about others also. The point is, the more we put ourselves in the occasion of sin, the more we become blind to the sin. The more we dwell on anger and hatred, the more we are blind to forgiveness and love. The real blind man is the one who can no longer see the truth and tries to justify himself and his lies.
On this Laetare Sunday, make the decision to be healed of your blindness by allowing Jesus to anoint your eyes with the grace of a good and thorough confession and then you can wash in the pool of truth and make the deliberate choice to avoid the occasions of sin that will lead you back into the blindness and darkness of being away from Christ.
** Due to time commitments, Father Grassi is unable to take blog comments at this time. If anyone has a question of faith, please feel free to call Father Grassi at St. Thomas Catholic Church or speak to him after Mass.
The great “what ifs”, there are so many of them. “What if” is used to inspire writers. “What if” is often used to get us to think. There are websites and blogs that are dedicated to just looking as the “what ifs” of the world. Some of them are very interesting.
What if money grew on trees? If that were true, there would be a lot of us climbing trees. And what would we tell our children when they come asking for money, since we couldn’t give them the old, “Do think money grows on trees?”
Another one I like a lot is, “What if the world was flat?” Well if that were true our friend Christopher Columbus in 1492, would have been looking for a reverse in that boat of his when he reached the edge.
And my favorite is what if we could change the world? (We’ll come back to this one later).
What if, can make us think, and despite what my wife may say, I do think, well at least sometimes I do.
Recently I was reading in the Book of John the 20th chapter…
Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.
Did you notice that last sentence? “Then they went home.” What if they would have stayed at home? What if they had never told others about Jesus, his teachings, his sacrifice, his resurrection? If they had stayed home, we wouldn’t have the New Testament, because no one would have known about Jesus.
But they didn’t stay home, later in that same chapter we read that Mary told the other disciples. And then they told others. They told the world about Jesus and his teachings, they told the world that Jesus died on a cross for everyone, and that he arose and lives. Then it was written down for everyone in what we call the “Gospels” (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).
Now the “what if” we need to think about is, what if we stay home and don’t tell anyone? Just like Mary, Peter, and John many of us know about Jesus, his teachings, the crucifixion, the resurrection. But are we taking what we know and staying at home?
There are a lot of hurting people in our world, there are a lot of people that need to know Jesus, and they need to know that he lives. What if we told them? What if we convinced them of the truth, that Jesus loves them and wants a relationship with them?
What if we did that? Remember that question that I said we would come back to, “What if we could change the world?”
If we would tell the world about Jesus, we wouldn’t have to ask the question, “what if we could change the world?”
We would change the world.